With an abundance of opportunities available to sell paintings online, it’s a lot easier to sell paintings online now. And if you looking to make money as an artist, you can potentially make lots of it. However, it can be quite challenging and at times confusing to figure out the right way to get started as these opportunities are scattered all over the internet. But, don’t fret!

We have put together a few useful tips to help you get started in the rapidly expanding art market:

  • Online Art Galleries

One of the most common ways (obvious) for you to sell paintings online is by listing it with an online art gallery. This method may sound simple but requires a lot of talent, hard work, and tenacity for you to be successful. Why?

There are loads and loads of online art galleries to choose from. With some working better than others, some are massive galleries where it is quite difficult to be seen while many are smaller ones that have a limited budget for advertising. Also, every gallery offers its own unique marketing channels and mediums. Some may use exclusive email lists, partnerships, while others go for sponsorships. Then there a few which are expanding fast, and there are others that charge to be listed on them — it’s actually a bewildering choice. So, it makes sense to consider having your presence on several sites.

However like the brick-and-mortar galleries, these also jury or curate applicants.  Just make sure to fully read and understand the application requirements so you have all the required documentation with you and you don’t end up getting disqualified for a simple mistake.

Also, like physical galleries, they also charge a commission, the rates are generally similar (up to 50%,) but all transactions for the purchase done through the online gallery. Additionally, you may be asked to take the responsibility of packaging and shipping the paintings as well.

It is certain that you will have to put in lots of effort and research into exploring the galleries online as there are lots of criteria to be taken care of. Doesn’t matter, if you take little more time but make sure to opt for reputed galleries that have a decent curatorial experience, good online presence, secured payment methods, and adequate marketing promotion skills.

  • Online Auctions

Many artists find auctions quite exciting but, it is crucial that you are pretty daring while opting for art auctions, as the selection process for getting your painting selected to be featured for auctions involves many complex steps and is something not guaranteed (and might hurt your ego). As the online auction houses have their reputation to uphold to attract buyers, some of who are most active and wealthy art collectors with loads and loads of money to spend, hence, they make your art run through a lot of processes so that only the best pieces make the final cut. Your painting must successfully pass the application process, undergo the process of valuation and review by an expert art connoisseur, and lastly match the website’s theme of an upcoming auction, which could be Indian art, contemporary ones, etc.

Remember that fortune favors the bold. Who knows that your submission for an auction might have some amazing things in store for and take your career to new highs.

  • Social Media

Please be aware that most social networks are not designed primarily for selling artworks, rather they are a good medium — free and easy to use, to help you direct traffic to the places where you already listed your paintings for sale (such as your personal art website or online auction house).

Whilst you can start promoting your paintings on almost any of your social media channels such as Instagram, Facebook, it is imperative that you know the rules of each platform and put them into practice accurately so that you do not end up being marked as spam or, worse, being blocked. So, take time to check the guidelines for good social media etiquette for the platform you are opting for. Needless to say that you will need followers on the platform so as to generate sales, which definitely is a time-taking process and so be patient.

Apart from sharing the paintings on these platforms, you can also share some behind the scene pictures or maybe short videos of you working on the piece. This will help to connect with the audience at a personal level. Though Instagram is a widely used platform by artists across the world, Facebook is a more suitable option for selling art due to its feature of ‘Facebook Marketplace’. (located on the homepage)

More like a huge online garage sale in your area, Facebook Marketplace helps you find everything from household items, books, clothes, accessories, and yes, a diverse range of artworks. With almost every other person active on Facebook Marketplace every day, you might get a large number of people viewing your art every day. However, there are also chances that you can be difficult to find in the crowd.

The important thing is here that you avoid conducting sales on social media, instead, go for your point-of-sale outlet or private emails for the same.

  • Online Marketplaces

Unlike online auctions, these marketplaces on the internet do not hold bidding for your paintings, nor are items live for a short time (a week or ten days). Your paintings are usually listed longer, or until sold. While selecting the marketplace to sell paintings online, make sure that you go for reputed ones (depending on the area you are targeting), the ones who have a good reach in that particular market segment. Below are some examples to help you understand it better.

One of the most familiar names in American online marketplaces is Etsy. Initially, it used to sell only handmade items which still form a substantial portion of its sales, but it gradually expanded its selling list to include all sorts of artworks from traditional Indian art to contemporary pieces. Now, it is popular for selling reproductions as well as pieces of the original art of different types, also offering a few custom art creations. Getting registered on Etsy is also quite easy, you can use your existing Google or Facebook account to automatically fill your information and create your account on Etsy.

Know that like all other commercial e-stores, Etsy will also charge fees from you including a listing fee, a final value fee, as well as a transaction fee, so make sure you calculate it beforehand and scale up the selling price accordingly.

Amazon Art is another popular option for selling paintings online. The landing page interface of this marketplace is big and bold both in terms of design and color themes, also available is easy navigation for exploring different categories. Different artworks can be easily searched by style, medium, subject, theme, size, color, and price. With Amazon being the biggest online marketplace in the world, it certainly provides your paintings with a wider and bigger reach.

You can use the existing account and fill in some additional details to get access to the Amazon art marketplace. Though the basic plan is available for free, to get additional facilities such as featuring on top searches, etc, you will have to pay a nominal fee every month or (maybe every year).

  • Personal E-commerce Store

Undoubtedly, one of the best ways to sell paintings online is through your own e-commerce store. But opting for this would require you to take charge of everything as it would be like running an art business from your home. Firstly, you need to get your website created, you can do build it on your own or hire a professional. Secondly, you will have to devise strategies to handle the pre-sales, as well as post-sales activities. Know that you being the owner of the online art store, running it smoothly and successfully will entirely be your responsibility and all this will involve hard work, lots of effort, and patience.

Owning a personal art website can be quite rewarding, here a few benefits as well as drawbacks you are likely to encounter:

  • You will have your own brand created
  • You can promote your art in whichever fashion suits you
  • You get full control of pricing your art and the entire proceeds from the sale will be yours (absolutely no commission to be paid)
  • The cumbersome task of customer service will be in your everyday to-do list
  •  Apart from creating artwork, marketing, promoting, shipping and returns would be your responsibility

Do not worry about the downsides, you always have the option to hire some help and you will be sorted. Also, you will have the flexibility and additional freedom to manage everything your own way. Isn’t it?

Although selling through your own e-commerce store would demand much more of your time, efforts, and money (initially) to become successful, it will give your opportunities to maximize your income and also let you keep all the profits. Certainly worth the hard work and challenge.

If you are ready to don many hats apart from being an artist, then there is no better platform than having your own e-commerce store in place. Perhaps a very profitable one, it is likely to take your ‘selling paintings online’ to new heights.

Wrap Up

While looking to sell paintings online, don’t limit yourself to using one single platform instead be proactive and try to spread your options. As every online channel operates slightly differently, their appeal to different buyers also varies, so joining a few online platforms will help you reach a larger audience at the same time offering great convenience and more choices for the buyers.